The Descent

The Descent starts off with tremendous promise with intense scenes and a thundering sound track, before losing steam midway through to devolve into a curious mix of a creature feature plus Rambo.

The movie has a number of things working for it. Tight choreography, great camera work and the previously mentioned awesome sound track demand and grab attention at the beginning of the movie. The scenes that set up the background scares are efficiently effective, reminiscent of the abruptness of Final Destination series. The psychological effect of the initial scenes is reflected and effectively amplified by the subsequent psycho-thriller staple sequences. The cast of relatively newcomers display a comfortable chemistry between them, without being distracting. Some of the deleted scenes displayed a feminist angle that the movie was absolutely better off without.

Paradoxically, it is within the claustrophobic confines of the caves that the movie starts to ease up. Yes there are things that go drip-drip-screech in the dark. But it is balanced by a gratuitous amount of blood, pools of it in fact, and buckets full of bones. When there is such an overuse of gore and slithery things, they tend to scare less. Instead you think about things, which is disastrous for a horror movie.

Pushing it over the top is the two-woman killing orgy that takes the movie towards a slasher ending. The descent was supposed to be a physical and metaphorical description of what happens to the characters in the movie, but in the end it just portrays the direction expectations take after being sky-high at the beginning.

The movie unfortunately tries to do too many things at once. As is expected, that results is something which is good is spots but fails to deliver something more than the sum of its parts. As a psychological thriller it could do with fewer creatures. As a horror movie it would have been better off without the intense beginning. In the end the "six chicks with picks" offer enough thrills to engage, but not enough to break new ground.

January 03, 2011

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